Not in New York: Carl Solway and Cincinnati

Image: Nam June Paik, Powel Crosley, Jr., mixed media (parts from a variety of Crosley products), John J. Emery Endowment and The Edwin and Virginia Irwin Memorial, 1992.140

The Cincinnati Art Museum presents Not in New York: Carl Solway and Cincinnati April 30 through October 30. The exhibition explores some of the most compelling contemporary artworks in the museum’s permanent collection that connect to Carl Solway’s transformative influence on the Cincinnati arts scene.

About 50 artworks, including paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings and multi-media, will be on display, some for the first time. The exhibition will feature works by John Cage, Ann Hamilton, Nam June Paik, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann, Jim Dine, Robert Rauschenberg, Helen Frankenthaler and many others. Solway’s unique role in the museum’s history is evidenced in these works, drawn solely from the permanent collection of the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Solway’s generosity and relationships with artists, artmaking processes, museums and the community indelibly raised Cincinnati’s place in 20th century contemporary art discourse. Born in Chicago and raised in Cincinnati, Solway is a publisher, donor, gallerist and most importantly, an educator. He played a vital role in building contemporary art collections in the Midwest and beyond, including many public and private collections.

Away from the art centers of New York and Los Angeles, Cincinnati became an influential place for late 20th century artists not because of the size or heft of the market, but because of Solway and others who created it. Solway and his former wife, Gail Forberg, opened Flair Gallery in 1962. It was later renamed the Carl Solway Gallery in 1970. For a period of time Solway simultaneously operated his namesake gallery and the Not in New York Gallery on West Fourth Street in Cincinnati, as well as shared space in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood. Not in New York brought the emerging Midwest art scene to the attention of the art world, and in return brought leading international artists to Cincinnati.

“The Cincinnati Art Museum is thrilled to recognize Carl Solway’s contribution to the Art Museum’s collection. He has made his mark in Cincinnati homes and the Art Museum’s permanent collection and has made a name for himself as a leader in contemporary art collecting in the Midwest,” says Kristin Spangenberg, Cincinnati Art Museum’s curator of prints. Spangenberg is co-curating this exhibition along with Matt Distel, exhibitions director at The Carnegie, Covington, Ky.

Not in New York: Carl Solway and Cincinnati, sponsored by Procter & Gamble and independently funded, will be on view in Galleries 103–105. Admission to the exhibition is free.